Image by Paola Peralta, via Wikimedia Commons.
It was by default that I played the role of social media manager for the weekly PBS program I produced. I was the youngest person in a very small production office, after all. But as someone who loves new apps and technology, I enjoyed posting regular updates and strategizing what might be fun for our web and mobile visitors.
One comment I’ve heard repeatedly from my fellow film and TV professionals is, “I have a Facebook/Twitter account, but I’m not sure what to do with it.” And for some of us, it can be difficult to figure out how to establish a social media presence when your news feed is filled with friends’ food-porn photos and Grumpy Cat memes. But social media is a free marketing tool, albeit a more engaging and immediately gratifying one, and you need to think of it as such. With over 255 million monthly active Twitter users and over one billion users on Facebook, social media should certainly be a part of your outreach strategy.
But your approach ought to be more than simply creating an account on your platform of choice. So where do you begin? These starter points may not be as entertaining as a Buzzfeed list, but I promise they will be packed with info!
- Who are you tweeting for? Is it for a TV personality? The television program or film itself? Or are you tweeting as a director/producer? Let who you are inform your tone (ideally, a colloquial and conversational one), what you post, and how much. For example, if you are posting for a TV personality, as I did, you can find out what they are reading in the papers and share that on their Facebook or Twitter feed.
- Consider your platforms. Not all social media platforms will work for you, and if you’re having trouble generating content on a particular platform, chances are you won’t make meaningful contributions to it. Do you want to share lots of behind-the-scenes photos and stills? Instagram is a great way to get them out. Looking to post updates on your project that are longer than 140 characters? Consider a Tumblr account. Since we produced a financial news program with long-form interviews, I skipped out on a Pinterest account because it didn’t seem natural to have boards of outdated stock charts or photos of past guests.
- Who is your audience? What they want to see and what they’re likely to share should also inform your approach on each social media platform. For example, the program I produced was distributed on PBS, where audiences are generally 50 and older. It made sense to be on Facebook, where I noticed my older relatives signing up. In trying to connect to financial advisors, a wider-ranging age group, I started a Twitter account for the show as well. If you’re targeting a younger demographic, make sure you’re on Instagram.
- Who is managing your social media? Will one person or multiple people contribute to your social media efforts? (This also ties into whether you’re tweeting for a person or for a product.) If you have a team working on your social media campaign, delegate tasks to gain a wider variety of content—your PA could take Vine videos on set, for instance—but ensure that everyone maintains a consistent look and voice across platforms. In marketing-speak, it’s called cohesive brand messaging. And for that matter, if you have an actual marketing team that you’ve employed for your project (lucky you!), make sure they are in the loop about your social media efforts.
In the next post of this three-part series, we’ll tackle the types of posts and strategies you can use once you’ve set up your accounts. Happy posting!
Teresa is a freelance broadcast and content producer who loves tackling social media management.